Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Ten Books of 2012

As you may know, I read a lot. I read texts for work, submissions, and the occasional blog posting or Twitter feed, and I am at my local library and book store on a weekly basis.

Still, I wasn't going to do a Top 10 post, until my forthcoming novel, Copper Girl, was featured on Top 10 posts here. And here. And here.

So, with out further ado, here are my Top 10 Books of 2012.

1. Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente

Palimpsest

In a word, amazing. This is the story of four people who each find their way to a dreamland, via a tattooed map they acquire in a most interesting way. The prose is lush, the imagery vivid, and I just wanted to sink into this world and stay a while.

2. Fire/Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)  Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

Ok, so this is two. It's my list, and I can put whatever I want on it.

Anyway, these  are the prequel and sequel, respectively, to one of my all time faves, Graceling. In Fire, we are introduced to a land filled with monsters so beautiful you almost don't mind when they rip you to pieces. In Bitterblue, we watch a young girl grow into her birthright as Queen. And, we get bonus Katsa and Po scenes.


3. The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

The King of Elfland's Daughter

By far the oldest title on this list, this should be required reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy; even Tolkien counted Lord Dunsany as an influence. This is the tale of a fairy princess, loved and lost by a mortal man, and his quest to get her back.

4. War for The Oaks by Emma Bull

War for the Oaks

Some say that this was one of the first urban fantasy novels, back before it was a genre. It tells the story of Eddi, a guitarist in a rock band who falls in with the fey. And, a phouka!

5. Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels World, #1)

Let's take a moment to discuss this awesome cover - what we don't have is a bimbo contorting herself to show off her boobs and butt. What we do have is a beautiful woman dressed for fighting, which is what Andrea does best. I worried that this would be one of those sidekick novels, but Andrea Nash has proved to be every bit as badass as Kate Daniels.

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

The author has described this book as the one she was meant to write, and I cannot disagree. It has racing, water horses that might eat or drown their riders, and the requisite kissing.

7. Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr

Faery Tales and Nightmares

A collection of short stories set in and around her Wicked Lovely series. A must read for fans of Aisling and Seth, not to mention Keenan and Donia.

8. Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

It's no secret that I love all things Tolkien, and this collection of his letters gives one an invaluable peek at the man responsible for so many beautiful stories.

9. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3)

Patricia Briggs does it again, with Charles, werewolf assassin, and his Omega mate Anna, tracing serial killers in Boston.

10. Changing Planes by Ursula K. LeGuin

Changing Planes

Interesting concept - when one is waiting at the airport to change planes, if the right conditions are met one can change planes - as in take a trip to another dimension. These dimensions include one full of holidays, another where royalty obsessively reads about the lower class in gossip magazines, and many others. All in all, great fun.

Honorable Mention - Inanimate Objects by Kendra Saunders

Inanimate Objects

This gets an Honorable Mention because I personally know the author, so I suppose I could be accused of bias. But, take my word for it, this book rocks. We've got Leo, a glitter covered London artist, his much more rational sister Helen, and a muse that wants to make Leo a star. And, there's Elisha, beautifully broken Elisha, whom I just adored.

Well, there you have it. What were your favorite books of 2012?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Spencer Hill Press Holiday Cheer Giveaway!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
We (authors, editors, publicists - all of us) of the Spencer Hill Press/Spence City/ Spencer Hill Contemporary family decided to spread our own version of holiday cheer! Of course, it involves books, swag, chocolate, jewelry, you know, the good stuff.

Check out the prizes you can win:

GRAND PRIZE Holiday Cheer Away Holiday Giveaway Bag

Books:
TOUCH OF DEATH
One Spencer Hill Press book (winner's choice--can include soon to be release selections)

Jewelery:
Bracelet
TOUCH OF DEATH Handcrafted Pendant- www.stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.com
Handcrafted Necklace and Earrings
So Many Books, So Little Time Necklace

Giftcards:
$20 Amazon or Barnes and Nobel (Winner's Choice)
$15 Starbucks
Two $10 Amazon

Critiques:
First Chapter Critique-Mary Gray
First Chapter Critique-Rhys A Jones
Query Letter Critique-Trisha Wolfe

Cool Stuff:
GUARDIAN T-shirt
BETRAYED Fridge Magnet
Flashlight
Ornaments
Holiday Towel and Potholder
Candy

Swag:
BREAKING GLASS Handcrafted Bookmark
FINN FINNEGAN Handcrafted Charmed Bookmark- www.stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.com
PERFECTION
TOUCH OF DEATH
FINN FINNEGAN
BETRAYED
ANGELINA'S SECRET
COPPER GIRL
OTHER TREE
PODs

 

 


SECOND Prize Holiday Cheer Away Holiday Giveaway Bag

Books:
ANGELINA'S SECRET - 1st edition signed copy

Jewelery:
Bracelet
TOUCH OF DEATH Handcrafted Pendant- www.stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.com
Earrings

Giftcards:
$10 Amazon or Barnes and Nobel (Winner's Choice)
$15 Starbucks
$10 Amazon

Critiques:
First Chapter Critique-Trisha Wolfe
First Chapter Critique (2500 Words Max)-Elizabeth Langston
Query Letter Critique-Kimberly Ann Miller

Cool Stuff:
BETRAYED Fridge Magnet
Flashlight
Ornaments
Holiday Towel and Potholder
Candy

Swag:
FINN FINNEGAN Handcrafted Charmed Bookmark- www.stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.com
PERFECTION
TOUCH OF DEATH
FINN FINNEGAN
BETRAYED
ANGELINA'S SECRET
COPPER GIRL
OTHER TREE
PODs

 

 

 

THIRD PRIZE Holiday Cheer Away Holiday Giveaway

Critiques:
First five pages--Sarah Guillory
First 250 word-DK Mok
Either query or first 250 word critique (your choice)--Michelle Pickett

 

 
I know, it's pretty awesome. Here are the rules:

Contest is opened to entries from Dec. 3rd to Dec. 16th
Contest is open to all ages from 13 to any adult age. ( I love to promote reading and writing with young readers.)
Contest is opened to US and Canada residents only. Sorry :(
I am not responsible for anything unless it is fun.

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, so - go for it! Good luck!

***Update*** My thingamajig wouldn't work (must be an id 10 t error) so follow this link to enter:

 

 

 

 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cover Reveal: COPPER GIRL

 
 
Finally, I can show everyone the amazingly gorgeous cover for my upcoming novel, Copper Girl!

 

 
 
Here's the jacket copy:
Sara had always been careful.
She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark.  After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.
Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara's dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.
Available in print and e-book June, 2013 from Spence City
ISBN: 978-1-939392-02-2
***
What's that, you want to see the back too? Well, here it is:
 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Anthology: Year One

So, as you, dear reader, are probably aware, I write a few things here and there. My most recent publication is a short story called Stir the Bones, and it appears in Anthology: Year One. This anthology boasts some truly amazing talent, and I am honored to be included.

Below, I've pasted a snippet from Stir the Bones. If you like what you see, pick up the book and find out what happens to Josie, Paul and Bear, as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of a tornado, trapped in what may be a haunted basement.

Stir the Bones


I still couldn’t get over how loud it was –the wind had shrieked and wailed and howled like lost souls escaping from the abyss, swirling around the house, ripping away shingles and siding and God knows what else. My husband said it sounded like a thousand fighter jets taking off all at once. He would know, since he’s an Air Force brat. Me, I was amazed that there’d been a tornado in Massachusetts.

Everyone, even those like me who were born decades afterward, still talks about the tornado that hit Worcester in 1953, so I guess today’s tornado wasn’t such an unprecedented event. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t damn irregular. I mean, we get lots of thunderstorms in the summer, but nothing like a tornado. Nothing like that dark funnel cloud, spewing debris and destruction like an evil whirling dervish. There had never been anything like this.

When the rain started, my husband, Paul, and I hardly mentioned it, except to say that Bear would be unhappy when he went for his walk. Then, the wind picked up and the warning came over the local news, and the three of us hurtled into the basement. Then there was the noise, the horrible howling wind coupled with the sound of wood splintering and heavy things being tossed about. I wondered if our home had been reduced to kindling.

Now, the storm had ended but we were trapped in the creepy, cobwebby basement, being that some of the aforementioned flying debris had wedged the door shut. And, of course, we’d lost power and cell service. It wasn’t really a big deal; we had a second fridge in the basement, stocked mostly with Popsicles, old beer, and the other odds and ends not fit for the kitchen proper.  Next to the fridge was a cabinet filled with canned goods, paper towels, and (luckily for Bear) a million pound bag of dog food. I figured we’d have cell service restored in a day, two at the max, and if the door remained stuck, we could call for help at that time.

Until help arrived, we were content to deplete our hoard of beer. Most of it was left over from various summer gatherings, and I couldn’t think of a better reason to celebrate than surviving a tornado. I used a screwdriver to open a green bottle of dubious origin, and grinned at Paul. 

“I think this one’s German,” I declared after a quick sniff.

“Skunked,” Paul muttered as I waved it under his nose. “I bet most of that stuff’s bad.” He rummaged in the fridge and emerged with a bottle of his own. We poured a little in a plastic bowl for Bear, so named because he’s a gigantic brown mutt, and sat down by one of the narrow windows. “I wish the electric hadn’t gone out.”

“I hope we have a house left.” He didn’t have anything to say to that, and for a while we just sat there, drinking funky beer in the dappled light filtering in through the basement windows. I realized that the dappled light likely meant that the foundation shrubs were intact. It was a small bit of good news, but I’ll take what I can get.

We finished our drinks, had some Popsicles, then popped a few more beers. By now, the light was fading fast, we still had no cell signal, and our electric still wasn’t on. The only thing on was my buzz.

“Remember the wacko we got this place from?” I asked suddenly.

“Freak,” Paul muttered, because she was. The previous homeowner lived in this house for ten years, had an assortment of small caged pets (lizards, hamsters and the like) that she kept in the dining room, and had had a succession of husbands, boyfriends, and fianc├ęs. According to the neighbors, eight different men lived here with her at one time or another. Must have really confused the mailman.

What was really weird was her love of concrete. We had this twenty-five square foot concrete patio in the backyard, our fence and deck posts were set in four foot deep concrete holes, and she’d raised the basement floor by two feet via her favorite medium.

“Too bad she didn’t put down carpeting,” my husband grumbled when I mentioned that last bit of trivia. We’d talked about finishing the basement but had never quite gotten around to it, and the concrete was pretty hard on our butts. The prior owner claimed the old floor was bare dirt, so in theory the concrete was an improvement, but I disagreed. Our basement was a cold, dark place, and it would take a lot more than a new floor to fix it.

After a while the sun went down, but it did nothing for the heat. The basement air was thick and wet, wrapped around us like a used dishrag. To add to our torment, we were in near-perfect blackness, and the lack of power made me worry that everything in the fridge was close to spoiling. Most miserable, however, was Bear. He didn’t like being confined, his thick coat meant that he hated the heat, and I suspect he was afraid of the dark.

“You think there’s anything over there that can hurt him?” I asked. Bear was scrabbling away at something in the far corner, behind the washer. Normally I wouldn’t let him scratch around like that, but I figured he was bored. I know I was.

“Nah. The detergent’s up high.” I heard Paul stand and make his way to the fridge, then the soft pop of a bottle opening. Normally, I would have something to say about this rampant drinking, but what else were we really going to do? Then he pressed a cold bottle into my hand, silencing me in his own way.

“It’s so creepy down here,” I said, hugging my knees to my chest. I’d never liked the basement, not when we did our first walk through and not now, after living on top of it for two years. There was something wrong, like the walls were watching. And, I don’t think they liked what they saw.

“Better than up there,” Paul said. He’d gone up the stairs and tried the door for the umpteenth time, verifying we were still stuck. Alive, but trapped.

“God, where is the power crew?” I got up and paced, which wasn’t a smart thing to do in the dark. I tripped, swore, then kicked whatever had tripped me and hurt my foot. Paul yelled at me to calm down while the dog barked his fool head off.

“Shut up shut up shut up!” I screamed. “Both of you shut up!”

Silence. Thank God.

I picked my way over to the washer and sat on the lid. I could just make out Bear in the moonlight, giving me that quizzical face dogs get after you yell. “Sorry.” I rubbed Bear’s ears, speaking loud enough for Paul to hear. “I’m just going a little stir crazy.”

Bear put his paw on my wrist; at least he didn’t hold grudges. My husband, now that’s another matter. I noticed Bear’s wet, sticky fur.

“Hey, babe,” I called. “I think Bear got into the detergent.”

Paul walked over and flicked his lighter. Bear had a thick, sticky liquid on his paw, matting down his fur. I bent closer, careful not to singe my hair on the open flame, and caught a faint metallic scent.

“I think he’s bleeding.”

Paul hauled Bear over to the sink and plopped him in; luckily, the water lines hadn’t been compromised. Bear’s no fan of water, but we got his paws rinsed off. After they were clean we inspected them as best we could with the lighter, but couldn’t find any cuts.

“He must have just gotten into something,” Paul stated in that brook-no-argument way of his. “Oil, or dirt.”

I nodded in the darkness. There wasn’t any oil or dirt in the basement, or anything else that would account for the dark liquid on Bear’s paws. However, the middle of the night after a tornado is not the time to explore the depths of the basement, especially this basement. I made another weak attempt at humor, and mentioned my theory that the last owner’s exes were the reason she raised the floor. Paul wasn’t having it.

“Will you get off that? There is nothing here. Nothing. Don’t you think the home inspection would have mentioned it?”

“Exactly what would it have said?” I countered. “Fresh grave in the northeast quadrant, financing denied?”

He blew out an exasperated breath and popped another beer. I considered one myself, but I wondered if alcohol was part of the problem. My fuzzy brain, coupled with this sweatbox that stank of dog and blood, was making me hallucinate.

Wait-we rinsed his paws. Why does it still smell like blood down here?

“Lemme see the lighter.” Paul tossed and I managed to catch it, and made my way over to the far corner where Bear had been scrabbling around. While the entire floor was a concrete slab, that end had some vinyl floor tiles affixed to it, a lame attempt at making the space livable. I crouched down and examined the vinyl. Bear had pulled up the corner and shredded the edges. There was more of that mystery liquid seeping up from underneath, and I wondered if we had a leak.

“Hey,” I called, “there’s some sort of goo oozing up through the floor.”

“Really?” Paul made his way over to me, peering over my shoulder at the black mess. “Is that oil?” I didn’t answer. Instead, I gingerly grabbed the shredded corner of the vinyl and slowly peeled it up.

I screamed. And screamed.

I leapt backward into Paul, now hyperventilating as I tried to tell him what was beneath our house. What our dog had found. I lost my breath, then darkness took me.

 When I came to we were sitting halfway up the basement steps. Paul was holding me against him, and Bear was smushed up against my hip as if to guard me. Despite the heat, I welcomed the huge, furry mess of him.

“It was a stick,” Paul whispered in my ear. “Bear found a stick.”

“It wasn’t a stick,” I snapped, my voice raw. Had I screamed that much? I guess I had. “It was a bone.”

“It was not,” he insisted, but he was wrong. I remember seeing it there under the floor, red and meaty and gnawed on. It was bone, and it was human. God, I hope Bear wasn’t the one gnawing on it. I hope he doesn’t get sick.

If Bear wasn’t gnawing on it, who was?

 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cover reveal, CALL OF THE JERSEY DEVIL by Aurelio Voltaire

We from Spence City spent the last weekend at AnthoCon in Portsmouth, NH, revealing the cover for Aurelio Voltaire's CALL OF THE JERSEY DEVIL. Without further ado, here it is:




Five suburban mall rats and a washed up Goth singer find themselves stranded in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey where they discover two horrifying truths: The Jersey Devil, hellspawn of folklore and legend, is real; and New Jersey (as many already suspected) is the gateway to Hell!

With the help of one lone witch, this small group must face off against their deepest fears and the most unholy monsters in a battle where their very souls, the world they live in, and any chance of returning to Hot Topic in one piece is at stake!

The first novel by musician and horror media personality, Aurelio Voltaire, Call of the Jersey Devil is a hilarious and terrifying homage to 80s horror and genre films. Like a mad doctor, Voltaire has Frankensteined together elements of Evil Dead, The Breakfast Club, Poltergeist, and This is Spinal Tap to create a creature feature that will have you laughing out loud when you're not glancing nervously over your shoulder.

Available in print and e-book on May 28, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-939392-00-8

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop


Hi! As a part of this blog hop, I'm to answer ten interview questions about my work in progress. Here goes:

***12/05/2012 update: Morven Westfield has joined the party! Visit her here: http://morvenwestfield.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-next-big-thing-meme.html

***10/17/2012 update: Justine Graykin wanted in on all the fun! Check out her blog here: http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/ ***


What is the working title of your book?

Copper Girl (the first in a four book series, the Copper Legacy)


Where did the idea come from for the book?

I used to work in an office that overdid it on the air conditioning, so I took my breaks outside, sitting in my hot car. There was a fairly distinctive tree in the side lot, and after staring at it for a while my heat-addled mind decided it was the entrance to the Otherworld.


What genre does your book fall under?

Urban Fantasy


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm. I see Micah as a combination of Adrian Brody and David Bowie. As for Sara… Emma Stone?


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In a world where practicing magic can have deadly consequences, Sara has spent her entire life trying to be ordinary, until an elf wanders into her dream and forces her to confront her heritage.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published in June 2013 by Spence City


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Once I decided to go with it, about three months.






What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
 
It's somewhere between Charles de Lint's Newford series and The Hunger Games.








Who or What inspired you to write this book?
 
I've always written high fantasy, and I wanted to try my hand at something a bit more modern. I thought there would be less world building - boy, was I wrong!








What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
 
Sara, the titular copper girl, goes from working as an underpaid desk jockey to the center of a war between humans and the Otherworld that was supposed to have ended years earlier. And, despite what all the propaganda says, she's not so sure the humans won. Along the way she rescues her brother, becomes the consort to a silver elf, and meets the Queen of the Seelie Court.
 
And now on to five more awesome writers, and their Next Big Things:
 
Lynda Williams http://okalrel.org/blog/
 
Thanks for stopping by!



 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lots of Links. Linktastic, Even.

So, lots has been going on lately, so here's an extra-linky post for your reading pleasure.

Firstly, an interview with me was recently posted here:

http://www.rainyofthedark.com/2012/09/author-interview-jennifer-allis-provost/

As you read it, you'll note where I state that within the next five years I'd like to see my dystopian elf series in print. Which leads us to this:

From Publisher's Marketplace: Jennifer Allis Provost's COPPER GIRL, in a world where practicing magic can bring deadly consequences, an elf walks into a girl's dream, forcing her to confront her heritage, to Vikki Ciaffone at Spence City, in a nice deal, for publication in June 2013.

Yep, that;s volume one of the Copper Legacy, a planned four book series. And, there might be a duology along with it. Stay tuned, folks.

(As a side note, the cover has been completed. I can't WAIT to show you!)

Also, I'm now the Marketing Coordinator for Spence City. Check us out here: http://spencecity.com/
You'll notice from the breaking news piece on the home page that the first book we're releasing is Call of the Jersey Devil, by a fellow named Voltaire. Not familiar with him?

Well, you should be. Here's his home on the web: http://www.voltaire.net/

As you can see, there's lots going on. I promise I'll share more as soon as my editor/boss allows it. We don't call her Mighty Maleficent for nothing.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Cat's Outta the Bag... Sort Of

Lately, I've been alluding to some Big Things. The link below will explain the first of many.

Go ahead. I'll wait.


http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/53846-new-hampshire-s-spencer-hill-press-expands.html


So yes, Spencer Hill Press is launching two new imprints, Spence City and Spencer Hill Contemporary.

As for the rest of the Big Things, unfortunately my lips  must remain sealed. However, here are some clues:

Vikki Ciaffone, who will head up Spence City, is my editor.

As many of you know, I write fantasy.

As you may not know, copper is my favorite metal.

Stay tuned...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pi-Con Panel Recap, Along With Reading List

First of all, Pi-Con rocked! I am saddened that there will be no Pi-Con in 2013, but that just means 2014 will be bigger and better than ever.

I was a panelist for "Using Fairy Tales In Modern Writing", during which several books and authors were recommended. At the request of audience members, I have compiled a list of said books.

This is, by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a great starting point.

What modern writer of fairy tales do you love?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pi-Con

Pi-Con begins this Friday. Eep!

For those of you planning to attend, below is my panel schedule. At other times I can be found on Dealer's Row in the Broad Universe room, hawking books, jewelry, and a few paintings.

Friday 7pm: The Broad Universe

We are the voices of women writing science fiction, fantasy and horror, working to Broaden our members' horizons.

Saturday 11am: Using Fairy Tales in Modern Writing

What fairy tale elements can we use in modern fantasy or sci fi writing, and which ones should we leave alone? How can we use these elements in fresh ways? Is it okay to change the lessons, to change the genders? This will not be a tracing of the history of fairy tales, but about making them work for us.

Sunday 10am: Self Publishing

In what ways is Self Publishing more beneficial than using publishing companies? What options are available to self-publishers? Why do some people disrespect it? What's the difference between "vanity" publishing and self-publishing? Discuss these questions plus how to get into and actually self publish.

Sunday 12pm: (2 Hours) Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading

And, during the Rapid Fire Reading I'll be reading from my latest work, Copper Girl, slated for a June 2013 release. (Yes, this is the Big Thing I've been hinting at. I'll tell you more as soon as I can!)

See you there!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Short Chat With Kendra Saunders About Inanimate Objects

I have the pleasure of being acquainted with the excellent author and all around fun gal, Kendra Saunders. Recently, she took the time to answer a few questons about her debut novel, Inanimate Objects.


Me:  Your debut novel, Inanimate Objects, follows the life and times of a singularly gifted artist, Leonidas Bondi. How did you come up with Leo?

Kendra: Leo wasn’t in the original draft of the book, actually! I had a writer instead, and the writer was very passive and sort of ironically witty. It was funny at times but I became really frustrated with how passive the guy was, so I axed him from the story and had to start completely over. My best friend posted a picture online of a young Matt Bellamy (singer from Muse) wearing a feather boa and mask, and I sort of laughed to myself and said, “That’s the kind of guy I need in my book.” Later that night I jotted a scene with this beautiful, fashionable guy (nameless at the time) meeting Matilda. The scene is almost word for word preserved in Leo’s introduction chapter. Several months after jotting that scene in a little notebook,I came back to the novel and decided to see what my beautiful, nameless boy could do. He was the key!

Me:  When we first meet Leo, he comes off as a self-absorbed artist, indulging in sex, drugs, and other sorts of debauchery. Later on, we learn that he has done some pretty amazing things in order to support himself, and his sister, including prostitution. Why resort to such means? Why not get a job as a waiter, or a paperboy?

Kendra:  Leo had both a preternatural sense of his own possibilities and a responsibility that was forced on him from ayoung age (since he and his sister were orphaned relatively early). His ambition to become a successful artist was equally driven by a need to providefor himself and to force his own darkness out of his mind and onto something safer (a canvas, usually). He knew that working as a waiter or paperboy could hurt the mystery that he believed needed to be built around himself. I think, alot like Lady Gaga, Leo studied fame from the point of view that was available to him. Fame, down on his level, was mystery and power and good clothes and luxury.

Rock stars, whether musician or artist or whatever, must be desirable by nature. Earning money through desire allowed him to both provide for himself and sister AND to practice his technique. Seduction would always be as much a part of his career in art as the actual painting aspect. And I do think he needed to break down some of his own lingering walls of identity. This is a guy who, by nature, is veryintrospective and tends towards melancholy. In different circumstances, he might have been some quiet little weirdo who flitted in and out of life in 29 short, lonely years, leaving behind only an apartment full of sad paintings.

This Leo knew he needed teeth to survive, and he needed to sell his own personality, ambition and natural sex appeal. So why not actually make money while doing so? It was uncomfortable, and I'm sure there were times when he would hide out at home, but he faced it as a challenge that needed to be overcome. He wasn't going to waste his good looks or potential art career on being afraid.

Plus, he knew in the back of his head that it would all end up part of his myth one day, part of the story that would grow and change and dance from here to there, from person to person, from biographer to art party.

Me:  Amazingly, even after all the debauchery Leo seems none the worse for wear, save for a bit of smudged eyeliner. Is the party boy persona all part of his act? Is there ever ginger ale in his champagne flute, or does he have the constitution of Babe the blue ox?

Kendra: Oh he’s much worse for the wear! The thing is, and we don’t see a lot of this in the book because so little of it is from Leo’s point of view, but he does absolutely take damage from all of this stuff. He probably gets home and falls into bed and sleeps without waking whenever he has a chance. And that air of ‘tuberculosis chic’ as my friend called it… that’s definitely the late nights and drinking and parties hovering close by. Is Leo stronger than most of us? Oh yeah. And he’s loads stronger than me! But there’s definitely a sense that he can’t keep at this pace much longer or things are going to burn down or he’s going to burn out. Where the book begins is sort of the lead-in to that tipping point. He’s a clever maestro, and he’s known he can’t push himself forever. Probably his greatest danger in all of this is a reckless curiosity about things he hasn’t consumed or encountered yet.

He drinks less than we think, avoids caffeine and is a vegetarian. But hand him a colored bottle of unknown liquid content and he’s gonna down it. And if you have four of them? Yep, he’s gonna try them all.

Me:  Leo is neither modest nor unworldly, yet he turns down Matilda's advances. Is it ever wise for an artist to refuse their muse?

Kendra:  That’s something I think about a lot! I have a lot of muses of my own (those aforementioned ‘tuberculosis chic’ types of boys) and can’t help thinking sometimes it’s better to have your muse at a distance. Artists and writers see things through their own unique lens and sometimes it’s more useful for us to only see what we want to see. But then, I suppose sometimes- as people and not as artists- we need to see the other side. We need to see the temper tantrums or the ugliness, the ordinary side of our muses.

Leo was able to see Matilda’s ugly side early on, because he’s just as much of a manipulator as she is! He turned her down because it kept her interest,which was wise in that particular situation. But I like to think it was also because he has a few lines he won’t cross (I’ll have to get back to you on what exactly those lines are).


Me:  Leo and Helen's mother apparently committed suicide some time before the main story begins, plunging the siblings into orphanhood. This admittedly awful event seems to have affected them in opposite ways: Helen gets the stable, 'respectable' job, and Leo goes artist/rockstar. Am I correct in my assessment, or does their mother's death have less (or more) of an impact on their actions?

Kendra:  Actually,interestingly enough, we never know what caused their mother’s death, but Ireally like your theory. (Especially considering the somewhat spoiler-laden issues of the familial burdens the Bondis carry). Helena always felt a bit disconnected from her mother and I think preternaturally felt more mature than her mother. She wanted to right things by being a bit more traditional, practical. Leo wanted to right things by making it big, however was availableto him. It certainly did egg both of them on to do things they wouldn’t have had to otherwise (including nicking breakfast from hotels and lying about their ages, etc). Of the two of them, Leo took after their mother far more, especially in terms of having a rather different grip on reality. He just had the cleverness and ambition to make it into something bigger.

Me:  So, Elisha. Or as I like tosay, Ell ISH Ah. Truly, an excellent blend of strong masculinity and tortured soul. Please, please tell me we'll see more of him.

Kendra:  Oh good Lord, Elisha has been my baby for so long. A lot of times I look forward to people reading the book mostly because Elisha is the surprise of the book. He’s got all of this angst and all of this dark poetry to him that just builds and builds. He’s a man on a mission for revenge but his revenge was created from a broken heart. How can you not love that? Plus he’s so entitled and English and sort of a bad boy and I just love writing people like that haha.

He’s definitely going to make some more appearances in future works, don’t worry. He’ll never fully leave me. Even if he finds happiness, he’s always going to be onsome sort of quest. This guy is semi-immortal, so there will always be more love, angst and missions for him out there.

Kendra L. Saunders is the author of magic realism novel Inanimate Objects, host of the quirky literary podcast 13 1/2 Minutes, marketing coordinator for Spencer Hill Press, Jazz-Age/all things England enthusiast and sometimes-roadie for her steampunk friends The Vagabonds. She's been published in Snakeskin Magazine, Premier Bride Magazine and Snakeskin Magazine and writes regularly for Pure Textuality and IPMnation.com. For more information about her, as well as helpful writing tips, visit www.kendralsaunders.com

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oh, no! It's a Kelpie!

Ok, there wasn't really a kelpie. What did happen is that the fabulous Trisha Wooldridge has a novel coming out, called The Kelpie, and she asked me to take a few pictures for the cover.

Being that kelpie's are quite dangerous, this meant we needed a stand-in. Enter Sue, Horse Mistress Extraordinaire, who let us invade her yard and photograph Dancer. Following are a few of the bazillion pictures I snapped:


Our cover model, Dancer


                                                         Yep, she's a quick one


Beautiful!


                                                     Rusty, Dancer's barn mate


                                                       Sue hosing down our star


There was a rooster, too! He was a bit camera shy.


Trisha cuddling Barbie, another of Sue's horses


As for the final cover, it is now in the hands of the capable folks at Spencer Hill Press. Stay tuned for the reveal! And, don't forget to pick up a copy of The Kelpie by Trisha Wooldridge, available December 2013.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are Ebooks Really Sounding the Death Knell of the Printed Page?

A few days ago, I came across a meme on Facebook (For the life of me I can't remember where, so please forgive the lack of attribution) that read something like "Ebooks are no more a danger to print that elevators are to stairs".

In my opinion, that pretty much sums it up. Just becuse information is available in a new medium, doesn't mean that the old medium dries up and blows away. I mean, the first drums were created thousands of years ago, but the advent of the synthesizer didn't render drums obsolete.

Here's a post from my prior blog that went up 02/22/2012, in which I compare ebooks to digital photographs. Let me know what you think, either in the comments below, on FB or Twitter.

Ebooks are like digital photographs. No, really.


Now that Heir to the Sun has made its ebook debut, I've been fielding all
sorts of new & exciting questions. Most of them seem to be about the
process of converting a "regular" book to an ebook - no, I won't bore you
with the drudgery of formatting (and there are others far more qualified to
speak on the subject).


The other heavy subject is one that's hotly debated of late: are ebooks
going to replace printed books? The situation does seem dire, what with
small indies falling prey to those digital pages, and even giants like
Borders going out of business. Will ebooks eventually replace printed books
all together?


In a word, no. Not within my lifetime, and probably not ever.
Consider digital photography. In the old days (read: ten years ago) we had
to ration our 35mm film OMG - remember film???) while we were on vacation, lug around lead-lined camera bags so the airport scanning devices wouldn't wreck our negatives, and
spend a small fortune developing it. Now, we click with abandon,
chronicling life's moments down to the second.


As awesome as digital photographs are, they have not totally supplanted
real, printed pictures. The ones you hold in your hand, hang on your wall,
tuck inside your wallet. We still want real, tangible memories, not just a
few pixels flitting by on a screen. Are we selective about what we print?
Yes. But then again, now we have the power to only print selected images,
and we can reprint at will, whether in the privacy of our home office or
local drugstore's photo kiosk. Or, umm, at work on the really nice commercial-grade color copier.


Flexibility is good.

Yes, some companies went out of business as a result of widespread digital
photography, but they refused to change with the times. You can't
stubbornly adhere to an outdated practice, or product. The consumer always
wants something new and shiny.


And as for print books, they aren't going anywhere. I don't care if I can
get it faster/cheaper/with exclusive content on my ereader, there are some
books that I want - need - to have in a tangible format. I love to turn
the page, run my fingertips across the type, and reconnect with characters.


Ebooks are like digital photographs: new and shiny. Ereaders are fun, and
we as consumers love gadgets. Are ebooks here to stay? Yes. Will some
publishers suffer? Most likely, but I wonder if any suffering will be due
their stubborn adhereance to an outdated, geriatric business model that should have been
polished up decades ago.

Maybe they just need to shake the cobwebs out of their
corners, and maybe ebooks are just the excuse to do it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review of Heir to the Sun

Scott over at Indie Book Blog posted a review of Heir to the Sun! Go have a look (hint, it's 4 stars!) right here http://indiebookblogger.blogspot.com/

Also, Scott makes a point of reviewing independent authors. I highly recommend following his blog, both for the new authors and his  succinet reviews.

Thanks again, Scott!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Editiors: The Good, The Bad, And Those Who Bring Ice Cream

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an author in possession of completed manuscript, must be in want of an editor."

Okay, maybe that's not exactly how Pride and Prejudice begins, but you get the point. If you, humble author, want your work to be even moderately successful, you'd best find yourself an editor.

Now, I've worked with my fair share of editors, and let me tell you, they are not all created equally. Some are fools, some are passably competent with grammar, and some--the rare few--are worth their weight in gold.

Disclaimer: I will not name the editors, or what projects of mine they worked on. Every editor I've ever worked with (save one) truly did have my best interests at heart, even if we weren't quite compatible.

And that, my friends, is the key: compatability. If at all possible, you need to find an editor with similar tastes to yours, hopefully with a similar woking style. For instance, I'm a long sentence writer.  I'm well aware that there's nothing wrong with this, being that it's a matter of style. However, I had one memorable experience with an editor who favored short sentences, a la Hemingway.

She took out all my commas and semicolons, and made my sentences like eight words long.

Was it grammatically correct? Yes.

Did I hate it? Yes.

Did I spend the next week re-lengthening my sentences? Yes.

Was that childish? Well, no. I told her what I was doing, and she agreed that sentence length is mainly a matter of style. After reviewing the finished mss. she even confirmed that my sentence structure was grammatically sound. I, in a feat of self control that nearly caused an aneurysm, refrained from asking her why she chopped up my lovely sentences in the first place. After all, I knew the answer: style.

I've since had many more adventures in editing, including a memorable face-to-face session when I was asked, "You do know what a semicolon's for, don't you?" (I'd used one incorrectly. Perfectly reasonable question, but at the time I was speechless.)

I've also had the pleasure of working with editors I absolutely adore, mostly because they are compatible with me. Not only with my long sentences, but with my wacky, lack of a schedule lifestyle, and they don't mind the gallon of coffee I ingest every day, or the constant stories about the dog and Wonder Twins.

I've yet to get an editor to bring me ice cream, but I remain hopeful.

What are some of your editing adventures?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What To Do Next Weekend


This weekend was jam-packed with events, holiday and otherwise: we had Flag Day, Fathers Day, along with a plethora of barbecues, and, for good or ill, visiting relatives.

So, how is next weekend gonna top that?

For starters, head on over to Annie's Book Stop in Worcester, MA, on Friday, June 22 to hear members of Broad Universe (including me!) read from their work. Here's the event description I stole copied from the Facebook event page:

"Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester welcomes woman authors from the New England Chapter of Broad Universe from 5pm to 8pm on Friday, June 22nd. Members Phoebe Wray, Jennifer Allis Provost, Elaine Isaak, Justine Graykin, Jennifer Pelland, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Morven Westfield, and Rachel Kenley will all be reading from their works, signing books, and discussing their adventures in writing and publishing. Light refreshments will be provided.

Broad Universe is an international non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and promoting women who write science fiction, fantasy, horror—and everything in between!
For more information on Broad Universe visit their website at www.broaduniverse.org."


Free entertainment, refreshments, and discussion of adventures. Sounds like a no brainer!

Learn more about Annie's Book Stop, Worcester's finest independent bookstore, here, and like their Facebook page here